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My Sister's Keeper: A Novel Hardcover – Apr 6 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; American First edition (April 6 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743454529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743454520
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 953 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #676,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding in this 11th novel by Picoult (Second Glance, etc.). The author, who has taken on such controversial subjects as euthanasia (Mercy), teen suicide (The Pact) and sterilization laws (Second Glance), turns her gaze on genetic planning, the prospect of creating babies for health purposes and the ethical and moral fallout that results. Kate Fitzgerald has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive. At 13, Anna hires a lawyer so that she can sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about how her body is used when a kidney transplant is planned. Meanwhile, Jesse, the neglected oldest child of the family, is out setting fires, which his firefighter father, Brian, inevitably puts out. Picoult uses multiple viewpoints to reveal each character's intentions and observations, but she doesn't manage her transitions as gracefully as usual; a series of flashbacks are abrupt. Nor is Sara, the children's mother, as well developed and three-dimensional as previous Picoult protagonists. Her devotion to Kate is understandable, but her complete lack of sympathy for Anna's predicament until the trial does not ring true, nor can we buy that Sara would dust off her law degree and represent herself in such a complicated case. Nevertheless, Picoult ably explores a complex subject with bravado and clarity, and comes up with a heart-wrenching, unexpected plot twist at the book's conclusion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School - Anna was genetically engineered to be a perfect match for her cancer-ridden older sister. Since birth, the 13-year-old has donated platelets, blood, her umbilical cord, and bone marrow as part of her family's struggle to lengthen Kate's life. Anna is now being considered as a kidney donor in a last-ditch attempt to save her 16-year-old sister. As this compelling story opens, Anna has hired a lawyer to represent her in a medical emancipation suit to allow her to have control over her own body. Picoult skillfully relates the ensuing drama from the points of view of the parents; Anna; Cambell, the self-absorbed lawyer; Julia, the court-appointed guardian ad litem; and Jesse, the troubled oldest child in the family. Everyone's quandary is explicated and each of the characters is fully developed. There seems to be no easy answer, and readers are likely to be sympathetic to all sides of the case. This is a real page-turner and frighteningly thought-provoking. The story shows evidence of thorough research and the unexpected twist at the end will surprise almost everyone. The novel does not answer many questions, but it sure raises some and will have teens thinking about possible answers long after they have finished the book. - Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
WHEN I WAS LITTLE, the great mystery to me wasn't how babies were made, but whyRead the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Anna was conceived as a bone marrow donor for her sister Kate. Originally it was just going to be taken from the placenta but when that didn't hold, Anna ended up being a long-term donor for Kate. By the age of 13, Anna had undergone several surgeries and transfusions. Now she is expected to donate a kidney to her sister. Now she will draw a line in the sand. She will fight this.

What length should parents and siblings' go to save a family member's life? What is ethical, moral, and legal? What is right for the person who has the disease? Picoult does not give us the answers but leads us through the journey of what one family, lawyers, and the courts go through. In the end, we must decide.

I like how the narrative of the story switches from character to character so that we can get inside what each person is thinking and feeling. Picoult also throws in a few twists and turns to keep the story and plot going.

Several people have recommended this book to me. I must admit I hesitated, blowing it off as "chick lit". Boy was I wrong. This story is not superficial fluff; it deals with deep ethical issues and is well written.

This is the first Jodi Picoult book I have read, but it is certainly not the last. I highly recommend My Sister's Keeper!
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Format: Hardcover
"My Sister's Keeper" is the first novel I have read by Jodi Picoult, and it could very well be the last. The premise of the novel is so interesting: a younger sibling is genetically "designed" so that she will be an acceptable donor to her older sister, who is very ill. As the girls age, there are medical, legal and emotional choices and consequences for the whole family. The story is told from the perspective of each character in the story, which is also an interesting and insightful way to deal with the subject matter.
However, in spite of its promise in both subject matter and form, the novel does not deliver a pleasurable read or a satisfactory ending. At several points while I was reading, I thought: "Is this a soap, or this literature?" I felt like the book, which has lofty quotations which run the gamut from D.H. Lawrence to Shakespeare, has too many aspirations. The author does not let it be enough of a straight-up tug at your heartstrings family drama, and tries to endow it with more seriousness than the writing is really capable of pulling off. And the ending was just not appropriate: the reader is anticipating an ending that deals with the ethical consequences of the character's actions, and the author robs the reader of that experience. I couldn't recommend the novel on that basis alone.
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Format: Paperback
I have just finish reading this book and I have to admit that I don't regret my purchase. However, people thinking of getting this book should be aware that the ending spoils the 'greatnest' of the story. It is too abrupt, too sudden and you're left wondering if the author had a deadline and didn't know what to do so lets just say she puts a stop to the debate about the organ donation pretty quickly.
One other minor thing that bugged me : Anna's going back and forth to her mother. (You'll understand!)
Even though some parts of the book were frustrating, if you read most people's comments they couldn't put the book down so in MY book, it means it is worth the time spent reading it.
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Format: Paperback
This is a novel pulled right from today's headlines, one filled with ethical conundrums and ambiguities. Medical advances that put us in the position of playing God (but without the infinite wisdom) have no easy right/wrong answers, as Picoult makes abundantly clear in her captivating book. Picoult's characters are as real as your friends and neighbors, good people at heart caught up in troubling issues that are only going to grow more vexing as medical advances continue to outstrip our courts and our ability to come to terms with all the moral implications. Unsettling yet fascinating, My Sister's Keeper is a must-read. It would have received five stars if it weren't for the ending, which could have been much more definitive and less of a convenient, simple way out of a problematic situation. Still, My Sister's Keeper wins a solid recommendation. There's another thoughtful good book, An Audience for Einstein, that explores the ethics of advanced medical science in a somewhat gentler way.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the first novel of Picoult's that I have read. When reading the description of the plot (a minor who sues for medical control over her own body after 13 years of being used for blood and marrow donations to her sister who has leukemia), I was immediately taken in. An added bonus, when I got the book, was discovering Picoult's narrative structure -- chapters are written from the point of view from different characters.
Picoult does an excellent job at character development. I found that I was able to understand each character's motivations and was drawn to each of them as individuals. And it is obvious that she does her homework in regards to both the complex legal and medical issues.
I was, however, very disappointed in the ending. After spending some 200-odd pages taking the rollercoaster ride of emotions with each character as well sorting through my own feelings about truth and morality, I reached the culmination of the trial. Her handling of the trial is emotionally rich, even if several of the issues that are raised are only done so cursorily. Regardless, the verdict is given that is fair and appropriate. I was excited to see what would happen *after* the verdict.
Instead, however, of attempting to implement the verdict in a "real-life" setting, Picoult ends the book with a plot device that indicates to me that she had run out of creative energy. It enabled all the characters to have their stories all neatly tied up. Very much a "happily ever after" ending which does a large disservice to the bulk of the book where Picoult spends extensive time laying out the issues.
I have recommended this book to my friends, but with the very large caveat as above. So much more could have been done with this book and the issues it raises -- I was disappointed in the cliche ending.
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